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World Cup’s Group H intrigue persists as Russia braces for last-ditch clash with Algeria

June 26, 2014, 20:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian squad needs only victory and nothing else at their clash with Algeria on Thursday night at Curitiba’s Arena de Baixada to advance to the next round
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Russian national football team head coach Fabio Capello

Russian national football team head coach Fabio Capello


Infographics World Cup 2014 World Cup 2014
World Cup 2014. Inographics by ITAR-TASS
MOSCOW, June 26. /ITAR-TASS/. With over two weeks into the much anticipated 2014 World Cup in Brazil the group stage of the tournament decided most of the national teams’ fate except for the Group H decider on Thursday night, when team Russia faces off Algeria for the spot in the Last 16 round.

Group H Russia and Belgium were earlier predicted by sports experts to be the most ambitious teams in their group as they were hungry for the champion’s title after missing out of the most important global football event in 2006 and 2010.

However, Belgium, known as Red Devils, have already secured a spot in the Last 16 stage after it defeated Algeria 2-1 on June 17 and outplayed Russia 1-0 on June 22.

The Russian squad needs only victory and nothing else at their clash with Algeria on Thursday night at Curitiba’s Arena de Baixada to advance to the next round, where the Russians may face strong Germany.

The possible victory over Algeria would not be the only factor to decide Russia’s fate in the championship as in another game on Thursday night match Belgium needs to brush away the pressure of attacks from stubborn South Korea and win the match.

The Russian national squad experienced a string of setbacks over the past decade failing to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany and 2010 championship in South Africa to the great dismay of the Russian football fans.

The Russians managed to finish their long-awaited World Cup’s opener with a 1-1 draw against South Korea and then missed a goal with only two minutes remaining against Belgium’s Red Devils on June 22.

Russia’s head coach Fabio Capello appeared very optimistic at a news presser on Wednesday saying the Russian squad was trained for nothing but victory against Algeria.

“We hit the field looking solely for victory,” Capello said. “This was the case with South Korea and later with Belgium. We will try to defeat Algeria at any cost.”

“What kind of football are we [Russians] going to play? We are betting on the offence,” Capello said commenting on the upcoming match.

Being rumored to be the highest paid national coach in the world, Italian phenomenon Fabio Capello managed to help the Russian national team to qualify for the current World Cup in Brazil. He celebrated his 68th birthday last week during the Russia vs. South Korea match.

On the eve of the Russian team’s match against South Korea, the Russian state-run pollster WCIOM provided data showing that 25% of Russians believed that the country’s national football team would battle through to the final match of the 2014 World Cup. Seven percent said the team would fail to clear the group stage.

The current World Championship in Brazil is also of particular interest for Russia since it was chosen for the first time ever to host the next World Cup in 2018.

The country won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup over three years ago in a tight race against the joint bid from England, Portugal and Spain and the joint bid on behalf of Belgium and the Netherlands.

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